Its a good time of year to consider strategies and plans relating to brokerage business. There is a solid amount of time ahead for attracting some new clients and positioning their property needs into 2016. I have incorporated some of those ideas in this weeks podcast for our broker and agent friends in ‘Snapshot’. You can join our ‘Snapshot’ online community here.
The Podcast 229 Program Details
And now for the program …….. In podcast 229 for commercial real estate brokers there are 5 parts to the audio program.
How to make a commercial property management difference,
A new perspective on Agent opportunity,
Accuracy in Inspecting Office premises,
How to list Industrial property,
How to research the opportunities in the local property market.
These are commercial broker programs on podcast by John Highman. Here is the audio for this week:
When you work with commercial property landlords with leasing and or property management requirements, it is essential that you provide comprehensive and detailed monthly reports of property activity and location based leasing movement. Any quality property should receive such detailed attention and documentary control.
What is Impressive Reporting?
So you as the specialized commercial property agent or broker can create some impressive reporting formats to support local property activity, asset performance summary, and recent leasing results. Any landlord owning a high quality asset deserves such attention and communication.
Who Needs This?
Focus on the best clients and the best properties as part of providing this reporting and communication service. In that way you can support and drive portfolio growth within a group of quality listings and clients. A perfect reporting process helps you to consolidate and improve client services and outcomes.
Give all the Facts
Here below are some ideas to help you establish a comprehensive landlord reporting process:
CLIENT REQUIREMENTS: Understand the property and or the leasing process from the client’s perspective. They will have certain factors of property priority and focus that are high on their agenda. They will have particular aspects of property control and timing that will be very important to them. Generally and typically speaking most landlords are focusing firstly on rental cash flow, secondly on tenant occupancy, and thirdly on existing and upcoming lease documentation. After those three particular things are seen to be under control, other things can be looked at in any property report to your client.
DIVIDE THE FACTS: Split your client or landlord report up into particular segments with logical headings and subheadings targeting the points of client focus. In that way you are showing the client that you totally understand what they are looking for and where they are heading with the property as an investment. Some of the most common headings and sub-headings to merge into your report are income, expenditure, lease documentation, tenancy mix, vacancy factors, maintenance, rent reviews, lease options, and capital expenditure. To those sections or headings you can then add summaries of market activity and the feedback you have received from any recent property inspections involving vacancies.
MIX VISUAL WITH REAL AND PRACTICAL FACTS: The visual approach is sometimes complimentary and valuable to any client information process. Add some charts and some timelines to the reports that you provide to your client. Help them see the strategies and the issues at play. Offer them some solid recommendations based on market evidence and the facts within your report including income, expenditure, leasing activities, and market trends.
So there are some good things that you can do here when it comes to the landlord and or client reporting that you undertake. If you manage or lease a high quality property for any client, they deserve being supplied with the latest information in a comprehensive way.
Keep your clients fully informed with both property performance and market opportunity. A fully informed client is likely to be a valuable client to you in the future across many categories of activity.
Every commercial real estate agent should have a prospecting model. In an ongoing way they should be connecting with new people each and every day. That can be a challenge for some brokers and agents as they balance workloads and property listings. The fact of the matter is that we should all be careful when it comes to personal time focus and client commitment.
Attract and Focus on the Best Properties and Clients
We should be focusing all or our prospecting activities and model on the best opportunities and the best clients locally. Applying that back to the beginning of the contact pipeline cycle, we should be concentrating our prospecting skills into the best segments of the market and particularly the best people owning an occupying the prime buildings and the prime properties.
We all get our fair share of poor quality listings and redundant properties. That being said, we do have a few choices to make when it comes to accepting a listing and working for a particular client. As you grow your market share, be increasingly selective as to the properties that you list, and the clients that you work for.
The larger properties and the better listings will always create better enquiry churn and activity from your marketing activities. If you focus on the higher quality listings within a location, the levels of enquiry will always be higher, more active and interesting. That is how you can build a pipeline of investors and prospects faster within a location.
Here are some ideas to help you improve your prospecting activities within your town or city:
COVERAGE: Understand the coverage of your prospecting activities. There is no point in spreading your prospecting activities across a huge area or a large town. You have limited resources and time to cover the market. Consider your territory and split into priority precincts of prospecting focus. You should have your primary zone of prospecting. Most of your new business should come from that defined area. Everything else outside a primary zone will be a secondary focus; listings may come to you from the secondary zone but you would not specifically prospect into the secondary zone. Understand your time as a resource, and focus all of your prospecting on a time basis into the primary precinct of property activity. Typically you will need about 2500 properties to focus on in that primary precinct so you will need to get organised. Over the year you can get to know all of the best property owners, the business leaders, the lease expiry dates, and investment opportunities.
LOCAL PROPERTY: Focus within particular property types locally. When you focus your prospecting activities within a particular property type, you can get to know exactly what’s happening when it comes to prices, future supply, and time on market, contracts, and leasing. You can also predict what challenges may exist when it comes to the segment and the location. That then allows you to adjust your marketing activities and any negotiation factors that arise.
PRIME PRECINCTS: Get to know the owners of quality properties in prime locations. As a commercial real estate specialist, you will already be focusing on certain segments of properties such as office, industrial, or retail. Within those segments, identify a small group of prime properties locally. Determine the ownership identity of those properties and make contact. Connect with the owners and build relationships at professional level. Understand that those property owners are likely to be talking to many local agents, so your connection will need to be comprehensive and professional at all levels.
THE BIG END OF TOWN: Track the property ownership and occupancy activities of the larger businesses and corporations in your primary prospecting precinct. Certain businesses will be more successful than others and therefore more active when it comes to property. Certain industries will be looking for resolving factors of expansion and contraction. You can and should focus your prospecting into the active segments of the local companies and businesses.
These four simple approaches to commercial real estate prospecting will help you find the right people to talk to in a timely and ongoing way. Focus on building relationships. As a general rule, don’t list or work with low quality listings unless there is a bigger agenda to support the approach.
Understand that your pipeline of prospecting will be an ongoing event and will require a commitment at a personal level to keep up the momentum and the persistence. Over time you should be talking to many hundreds of people in an ongoing and relevant way.
Keep it moving
Connect with all the people in your database at least once every 90 days. When you can identify a property need or challenge, the frequency of contact will be shortened to monthly or even weekly.
Relevance is the key to making the contact prospecting process work effectively with reasonable levels of conversion. The relationships and the trust that you build through that regular contact will eventually lead to listings and property requirements. That’s how any top agent will build market share and grow market relevance.
In commercial real estate brokerage, things change frequently throughout the year. The only object or fact that you can control is your response to the property market and its changes. There is always opportunity in change, but you have to dig for it. Local property market awareness will help your responses.
What do you do?
It doesn’t matter whether you are specializing in sales, leasing or property management, the location changes and the market sentiment will be there for you to work with and turn into commissions and or leads. It is a valuable process to monitor your activities each day and direct them into particular strategies that you can shape and refine.
How do you rank with these?
Here are some specific ideas that can really help drive better results for agents and brokers. See how you rank with these ‘change factors’:
What you say – Given that we are communicating with people every day, what you say and how you say it will be a great leverage factor in business conversions. Learn about the conversational factors in telephone prospecting, negotiating, pitching and presenting. Notably all of those situations are quite special in our industry. Develop the voice and the right words that support conversational confidence with people.
Property market awareness – Check out the local listings and the trends in enquiry, prices, and marketing strategies. Understand just what formula is creating the best enquiry and momentum towards a successful sale or lease situation. Watch the top agents in your location so you can see the strategies and differences that are potentially giving them the edge in listing conversion.
Recent enquiry – Clients like to hear about recent levels of property enquiry. If you are tracking the enquiry numbers for your exclusive campaigns, you will have some valuable information that can influence the listing processes with your clients. Also assess the numbers of people that you are talking to every day. Lift your contact numbers on a daily basis; set some contact benchmarks that you can improve given the available time.
Marketing solutions – There are many ways to market a property today. How can you make your promotional processes more specific and relevant? What can you do to leverage more enquiries from the advertising that you have both online and offline? There are many ways to creatively and professionally improve property marketing. Try better photographs, creative promotional copy professionally created, layouts, keywords related to your area and property type, and place the property in a matrix of online portals, social media, and database newsletters.
From these four simple factors you can see why personal performance is a big thing in commercial real estate brokerage today.
Most of the property market ‘slumps’ are a reflection on personal agent or broker performance rather than true market conditions. Are you up to the challenge?
Most agents and brokers that are struggling in the property market today are doing so for the simple reason that they are not ‘relevant’ to the prospects and clients that are looking for property help.
Relevance wins property business; the ‘generic approach’ to commercial real estate has little magnetism for pulling in listings or commissions.
Disaster strikes when there is no real reason for clients, business owners, investors, or tenants to remember a particular broker or agent, and particularly so at the right moment when they are handling property issues and challenges.
So where are things now?
Want to improve your real estate business? Answer this question. Why should a commercial property client or prospect choose you to help them with a property challenge? It’s a scary question to ask; commonly the answers given by most agents are ‘generic’ and bland like these. They can provide:
Local market knowledge
Team service for the client
Client communication, etc.
All of these things are too ordinary, and just about every agent or broker uses the same ‘ordinary stuff’ which inevitably makes little or no difference to the clients that they serve. The statements are of no real attraction or interest to any client wanting property help.
So what can you do here when pitching your services? Clients prefer ‘specifics’ that are matched to their property challenges. For example:
A database of 2000 tenants in the location, 250 of which have been shortlisted to the client’s property listing (Leasing)
15 parties ready to inspect the new listing in the next week (Sales or Leasing)
Savings of $40,000 to be found in energy by load shedding (Property Management)
4 investors that missed out on the last local campaign are to be contacted (Sales)
If you haven’t got a very specific answer to that question given, then it is likely you will struggle for some time in converting business leads and opportunities.
Why do you have to determine a clear answer to that question? In simple terms you must be able to market yourself specifically as the best agent for the job. The only way you can do that is through a mixture of the following:
Locational coverage – Split your city up into a ‘primary zone’ for implementing all your prospecting, and a ‘secondary zone’ where you will still take business if it arises. In this way you can really cover the right people and the right properties in your ‘primary zone’. This extra level of focus in prospecting helps you with local area information, market evidence, and personal marketing. The question arises as to how many properties and or owners you should have in your ‘primary zone’. The answer is related to your capabilities to cover the patch with a direct marketing approach. You are the person that has to make the calls, create meetings, and door knock streets. In an ideal city location, choose a primary zone of properties and streets containing about 2000 properties. Then you can split the location up into activity zones that you can move through in a logical way.
Marketing mastery – Ensure that all of your promotional efforts are well crafted and implemented. Use words, phrases, photographs, and layouts that pull in the enquiry. Top agents are usually respected and chosen for their marketing skills.
Database depth and relevance – If you prospect directly into your area, you can build a database that will help you build your business. It is very hard for a client to overlook an agent that has a top quality database containing people from the location and within the targeted segment of business owners, tenants, buyers, or business leaders.
Property speciality – Get to know everything that you can about a property location and speciality. From that effort you will then understand where the next listings are likely to evolve and why that is the case. You will also know what things are selling or leasing for. You will understand why some levels of enquiry are better than others with certain listings. When you understand the enquiry, you can do something with it and improve it over time. Know what people are looking for in local commercial property and then market comprehensively into that.
Commercial real estate brokerage does not need to be complicated but it does need to be relevant. Get involved with your property market and show the right people why you are highly relevant to them as they seek to solve a few property problems.
A retail property and particularly a shopping centre is a special asset in many different ways. It takes skill and knowledge to make something of property performance.
There are numerous things to put in the retail ‘balance’. Special strategies are required. Are you up to the retail challenge?
Understand the retail facts
So what are the variables that make this so challenging? Consider these for starters:
Tenants struggling to make sales – Some tenants will always struggle given that they may not be offering the right products or services. They may also be inexperienced in retail trade and sales. If you have a difficult tenant in a property it is perhaps better to move them on at the end of their lease (assuming that they can trade until the end of lease)
A tenant mix that just doesn’t work for one reason or another – A poor group of tenants with weaknesses will quickly slow customer interest and repeat visits. That weakness then leads to sales decline. You must quickly fix a retail shopping centre tenant mix if you have issues that are weaknesses and impacting property performance.
Vacancies currently in the property or those that can be expected – When you have empty shops to resolve, ensure that you are coming up with immediate strategies such as creating short term occupancy and placing marketing material in the empty space. Customers will see the vacancy so build some ‘vibrancy’ into the empty space.
Market rentals and strategies for the property – Understand what the rents are doing for the property type in your region. How does your property compare?
Outgoings recovery from the tenants – The lease documentation will be important when it comes to outgoings strategies and recoveries. The rent types used in the property will also have an impact.
Customers and their spending patterns – At different times of the year the sales results change for the retail sector. Watch the process and how it is impacting your tenant mix.
Lease documentation that is complex and critical to occupation – Understand all of the leases in the property. Some will be better than others.
Landlord net income requirements – The landlord will have expectations when it comes to the net income they achieve. The expenditure in the property will place pressures on cash flow. Understand how those things work in your retail property.
Retail sales patterns for the region – Always look at shopping and sales trends for the region. Understand if your property is being pressured by other properties locally. Understand why that is the case and try to fix the weakness.
The configuration and presentation of the property – It is a fact that any retail property will be higher in upkeep so costs and strategies will be required. The presentation and functionality of the property has to be at the standards expected by customers. In that way the customers can keep coming back to the shopping centre. A retail property will soon be in decline if maintenance and presentational factors and lacking.
Every one of these issues can demand specific focus and effort from you as the specialist broker to bring about a resolve for all concerned.
Commercial investment sales is a special part of the property market. The rewards can be high in commissions providing you have sufficient listings, market share and qualified enquiries.
I also like to insist on ‘exclusivity’ as part of the property listing process. In this video I explain why that is important if you are to tap into the investment sales opportunities in your town or city.
See some ideas on Video about how Brokers can establish themselves in that lucrative segment of the industry.